Ibn al Xu'ffasch, holding Nightstar, on the cover to The Kingdom: Son of the Bat. Art by Brian Apthorp

Ibn al Xu'ffasch (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >ابن الخفّاش</span>‎; literally "Son of the Bat") is a fictional character, the biological son of Batman and Talia al Ghul. He was developed by Mark Waid and Alex Ross for their 1996 miniseries Kingdom Come based on concepts from Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham's 1987 graphic novel Son of the Demon. Waid further elaborated on the character in the 1999 miniseries The Kingdom.

Multiple versions of the character have appeared under different names, most recently as Damian Wayne.

Fictional character historyEdit

Son of the DemonEdit

In the graphic novel Son of the Demon, Ra's al Ghul enlists Batman's aid in defeating a rogue assassin who had murdered Ra's al Ghul's wife, mother to Talia al Ghul, with whom Batman has shared a stormy, on-again off-again romance. During the course of the story line, Batman has time to properly romance and marry Talia; the service is performed by Ra's. Talia soon becomes pregnant, and the prospect of a family has a profound effect on Batman's demeanor, making him more risk-averse and softening his typically grim outlook. Batman is nearly killed protecting the only-recently pregnant (and still very dangerous in her own right) Talia from an attack by the assassin's agents. Observing Batman's dangerous and overly protective behavior, Talia resolves that she cannot allow him to continue to act in such a manner, as he will almost certainly be killed. To that end, Talia claims to have miscarried. Crushed by the news, Batman returns to his typically grim disposition, and he and Talia agree to have the marriage dissolved. Batman returns to Gotham, never knowing Talia is still carrying his child.

The child, a boy, is born and left with an orphanage, and soon adopted by a western couple. The only hint of his impressive heritage is a jewel encrusted necklace, a present to Talia from Batman. At some point, he becomes aware of the identities of his birth mother and father and adopts the name "Ibn al Xu'ffasch", literally, "son of the bat".

For many years this story was stated to be outside continuityTemplate:Fact, although two Elseworlds, Kingdom Come and Brotherhood of the Bat, featured two alternate versions of the child as an adult, coming to terms with his dual heritage.

Kingdom ComeEdit

In the Kingdom Come continuity, he is sought out by the League of Assassins after his grandfather's apparent death to be their new leader. He later serves as part of the Mankind Liberation Front, a coalition of human villains seeking to win the Earth back from the superhumans.

The third issue reveals that Xu'ffasch is Batman's mole, as he is standing with the other Outsiders as Batman is about to be teleported by Zatara to the Batcave. His mole-like involvement is hinted at previously when during the scuffle between the MLF and Batman's followers, al Xu'ffasch is not attacked — Nightstar warding off potential confusion by protecting him.

Towards the end all the MLF leaders are working in a hospital and wearing inhibitor collars that keep them under control. al Xu'ffasch is the only one uncollared and is seen to be upset when a patient dies, and comforted by Bruce.

On Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22, shown that Ibn would eventually marry Nightstar, and have a daughter and son.

In the Elliot S! Maggin novelization, al Xu'ffasch tells Bruce that his mother Talia is still alive and working as a Mother Superior in India, one of Mother Teresa's succesors.

The KingdomEdit

In The Kingdom: Son of the Bat, flashbacks shed new insights into his history: that he was reared by Ra's al Ghul to be the heir to his empire, that he eventually murdered his grandfather (cutting off his head to prevent yet another regeneration), and that he sought therapy from psychiatrist Dr. Gibson.

He was eventually recruited by Rip Hunter to try and stop a madman named Gog from altering his history. He works with several other heroes of his generation - Kid Flash, the daughter of the Flash; Nightstar (Nightwing and Starfire's child) and Offspring, the son of Plastic Man. All soon discover the work to be unnecessary due to Hypertime.

al Xu'ffasch is romantically involved with Dick Grayson's daughter Nightstar and has described her as his "stabilizing element," who prevented him from becoming "him". Whether the "him" here refers to his grandfather or his father is ambiguous; it is also worth noting that Nightstar reassured al Xu'ffasch that one day he would learn to balance his family legacies.

Modern continuityEdit

  • In Teen Titans (vol. 3) #18, when the Titans were transported 10 years into the future, a graveyard full of deceased Batman allies and villains is depicted. One tombstone reads "Ibn al Xu'ffasch".

Other versionsEdit

Brotherhood of the BatEdit

The unrelated Elseworlds Brotherhood of the Bat features a future in which Ra's al Ghul discovers the Batcave following Bruce Wayne's death, and outfits the League of Assassins in variant Batman costumes based on Wayne's rejected designs. Talia and Bruce's son, here called Tallant Wayne, joins the Brotherhood in the original Batman costume, to destroy it from within.

In the sequel League of Batmen, Tallant leads his own team of variant Batmen to combat the plague that was al Ghul's legacy.

In a Batman Annual story, "Tales of Dead Earth", his name is Talon.

Batman & SonEdit

Grant Morrison's Batman story, titled Batman & Son, expands upon the Son of the Demon storyline as part of a remodeling of Batman's personality after the events of Infinite Crisis. In Morrison's version, the child's name is Damian, and he is the result of a tryst by Batman and Talia, during which the Dark Knight claims he was drugged.